Dixie McCoy, who witnessed the rescue operation and published live material on Facebook, told CNN that at least 20 whales had arrived near the shore of East Beach on St. Simons.
About five or six whales from the capsule got ashore, and outsiders worked to push the animals back into the sea, said a spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Tyler Jones.
"When we got to the beach, we noticed a group of people in the water. At first, we thought they had dolphins doing some show, "said McCoy. "When we approached, we could not believe what we saw."
"It was so sad to see so many whales on the beach," she continued. "Everyone tried so much to get them back in the water."
It is unclear why animals landed on the island, although pilot whales "belong to the most likely whale species on the beach," DNR says. "They are very social animals and will often follow the leaders and try to gather around the sick or wounded," said DNR.
Thanks to volunteers and rescuers, most of the whales returned to the water to continue their journey, said DNR.
Two of them were killed – one on East Beach and the other half a mile south of St. Simons Pier on a private property, the department said.
The corpses of two animals are to be removed and will be taken to the wildlife management area to carry out the section.
According to the American Whales Society, the pilot whales belong to the dolphin family, and the second largest only to the orc.